Their childhoods were not ordinary. Maybe they had a robot friend or an alien encounter or battled monsters, or found a magic book. Whatever the case, they grew up and moved on… or did they? From Fanbase Press comes a tale of what happened when their movie-like lives returned to normal. The Sequels #1 is on Comixology on February 20, 2019.
Writer: Norm Harper
Art: Val Halvorson & Bobby Timony
Letters: Oceano Ransford
Colored/Flatted: Deanna Poppe
Cover: Don Aguillo
Publisher: Fanbase Press
Release Date: Anticipated for February 20th, 2019
Cover Price: TBA
Previously in THE SEQUELS: Forget the Seventies, the Eighties were a wild time. Hollywood figured out teens and pre-teens had disposable income, and they liked to spend it on the movies. After the success of films like E.T and Short Circuit, there was a flood of movies featuring young kids thrown into strange situations and forced to stand up to their elders. Some became classics, some didn’t. What would the lives of those kid heroes have been like after the adventure was over, what kind of person would they have grown up to be?
ONE BOY PLUS ONE ROBOT EQUALS ADVENTURE!
It’s 1986 and an eleven-year-old boy named Avery is on the run from the mysterious military contractor known as Exotech. He has liberated something they want, and that something is OLLIE, a dual-treaded robot who has befriended Avery and taken him on a wild ride of adventure and mischief. Now in a mad dash for the Canadian border, they have been cornered by Exotech and upgraded, militarized versions of the friendly OLLIE. You see, OLLIE seems to have gained some sort of sentient nature, and Exotech wants him back to figure out how. The totally tubular pair of buds have a plan, and it involves getting OLLIE into Canada where Exotech can’t touch him. Using lighting fast reflexes and Avery’s skateboard, OLLIE defeats their pursuers and makes good his escape to Canada. Unfortunately, Avery has a family and knows that he cannot leave them. Instead, he watches his best metallic friend ride off toward Canada and freedom.
Cue sentimental music. Roll credits.
Except, this is Avery’s life. He has just freed an experimental, self-aware robot from a secret military facility and broken any number of laws to do it. He has to go home and face his family and the consequences. Sometime later, when representatives from Exotech arrived at his home, his world is shattered; a deal has been struck. Exotech will pay Avery’s family to relocate, and set up a fund to pay for any schooling Avery wishes in perpetuity. He just has to stop talking about Ollie in public. To his parents it is a done deal, but not for Avery. After the move, he blends in with the rest of the kids in high school, but never forgets Ollie. He graduates high school but refuses to use the Exotech money to attend any kind of higher learning. He chose instead to tell everyone about OLLIE in his own way, through a children’s book. One day, at a signing, a man about his age walks up to him. He knows the truth. In fact; there is a support group for people like him.
SO AN ALIEN, A ROBOT, AND A MONSTER WALK INTO AN ARCADE…
If you were a kid of the VHS generation, you probably remember movie rental stores. For those of you that have no idea of what I am talking about, imagine a world where you had physical walk into a store to rent a movie to watch, if it was on the shelf. The Sequels harkens back to that era. It answers the questions you begin to wonder as you grow older; how would you have gone back to a normal after a life-altering adventure?
Writer Norm Harper (Rikki, The Naughty List) begins to answer that question with this first issue of The Sequels. Avery and OLLIE are inspired by the classic movie Short Circuit, but we only see the tail end of their shared story. The story continues as Avery grows older and realizes OLLIE has been forgotten by everyone, and that technology has not moved as it should. If one company had created a sentient A.I. over thirty years ago, why had no else done it? When he finds out about a support group for people like him, he goes. There he meets Gwendolyn, who met aliens. Russ, aka Scratch, who saved his town from monsters, and Dakota, who saved all of imagination. The movies that pop to mind with these descriptions are E.T., Monster Squad, and The Pagemaster, but they also could have been any number of direct-to-VHS copycat movies back in the day. Harper writes well and he manages to convey the sense of loss and awkwardness these adults feel having to lead an ordinary life. He manages a nice twist when one of the group reveals a way to possibly continue the stories, to give their childhood adventures “sequels.” Knowing how their lives are now, they go for it. The whole concept is fun, but there is a dark edge where you just know things are going to go sideways.
The illustrations for this issue are split by the team of Val Halvorson and Bobby Timony (The Night Owls, The Simpsons). In the first part of the book, we have the flashback to Avery and OLLIE’s adventure as it ends. The images are simple but well drawn, conveying a feel of the eighties. When we start Avery’s life without OLLIE, we go to a much different style that gives a darker feel. The colors by Deanna Poppe really set the feel for the different periods and make it a deeper read than you might have expected.
BOTTOM LINE: I DON’T WANT TO GROW UP…
I asked Editor-In-Chief of Fanbase Press, Barbra Dillion, and she stated the four-issue series would be released monthly through Comixology, with the first issue possibly dropping on February 20th. The Comixology price has not been announced yet, but you can go to the Fanbase Press website and pre-order a print copy of the upcoming collection for a reasonable $19.99. Do it before May 1st, 2019, and you can get some nice extras. Personally, based on the strength of this first issue, I think that would be money well spent.
Oh, and I neglected to mention, the cover by Don Aguillo (Only Human, Shards) is amazing. It is a textbook example of eighties VHS Box art, and is worth the price of admission by itself.
THE SEQUELS #1 is an original and fun idea that makes for an entertaining study on how your life changes from childhood to adulthood. I highly recommend it.
The Sequels #1